It's possible to have rather mixed feelings these days when you hear of an Indian horror film. Gone are the days of the Ramsays, and even Ram Gopal Varma - they redefined horror in their times, and very successfully, one might add. However, with higher exposure to international movies of the genre, Indian film directors have begun to lean towards a different style of presentation.
What is interesting in such new era films is that although sequences, and sometimes entire plots, are adapted from Japanese, Korean and American movies, the basic premise of the story is usually Indian. Not just in the setting and the people, but also in terms of superstitions and beliefs that are prevalent in India, largely.
What is even more interesting with Pizza 3D is that it is a remake of a successful Tamil movie, for a pan-Indian audience. Everyone would then want to know how the Hindi film fares.
Kunal (Akshay Oberoi) is a pizza delivery man. He is content with his life, which revolves around prompt delivery and his wife Nikita (Parvathy Omanakuttan). His only grouse is his writer wife's choice of genre - horror. He does not believe in ghosts, and is irritated because Nikita thinks they are "cute". He jumps at every opportunity to taunt her obsession with ghosts, and she takes it sportingly, but also tells him that when his time comes, he will be forced to believe.
One night, on a normal delivery trip, Kunal finds himself in a strange situation. He becomes trapped in the house that he has brought a pizza to. To make things worse, the house seems to be haunted, and the events that follow his sudden change in circumstance leave him traumatised and helpless.
Kunal manages to get out his bizarre situation, but he knows that life will never be the same. What he cannot predict, however, is that his beloved wife will disappear. Is she dead? Is she trapped somewhere? Or has she been kidnapped? As Kunal embarks on his search for Nikita, he becomes more and more caught up in a dimension he never believed existed.
The basic flaw in the movie lies in the execution of what seems to be a great concept. The director and writer have made a few (negligible) changes to the original, to better adapt it to the language and audience, but while the Tamil movie made viewers chew their fingernails in anxiety, the Hindi version is more nonchalant about the way it presents its narrative. In short, the soul seems to be missing, literally.
Not that Pizza 3D is not a thrillingly spooky film. It has its share of scares and eerie characters, and the sudden change from a dialogue-heavy story to long silences punctuated by shrieks and creaks is enough to make your heart plummet in fear. As with most horror films, however, Pizza 3D becomes predictable as far as the "boo" moments are concerned. Just once, it would be nice to sit through a horror movie that does not warn you of impending disaster by building up the music and the shot.
Or maybe the scary bits are an effort to make you ignore the lack of logic in writing, at least in some portions. Soon, the script becomes more and more predictable, and you know there will be a twist somewhere, but the climax is less than satisfactory. The last half hour of the movie is actually quite tedious.
To give the makers their due, they have tried to balance out the elements of the story by inserting some comic relief. Kunal's boss (Rajesh Sharma) and his cronies appear when they are needed the most, to alleviate the tension - at least, in the first half.
Akshay Oberoi does his best, but he appears quite clueless with his expressions. He has a standard range, and the intensity required to portray a common man who finds his life changed in the most inexplicable way does not come naturally to him. He has potential, though.
Parvathy Omanakuttan, on the other hand, is refreshing and believable. Whether she is the cool wife or the anxious woman, she carries off the nuances of her character with a certain panache, and you look forward to seeing more of her in the future.
Dipannita Sharma and Arunoday Singh are stuck in roles that do not do justice to their talents. They are largely wasted. Rajesh Sharma, D Santosh and Hussain Dalal definitely deserved more screen time.
The production design is exaggerated, of course, and this can make you a bit detached from the happenings on the screen. At some level, you may treat this as a fantasy, and that is where the film fails. Any good horror filmmaker can tell you that you should come out thinking that this could have happened to you. The costumes are normal, and effective. The make-up is almost unintentionally funny, instead of scaring the living daylights out of you.
The 3D does not do much for the movie, and we suggest a 2D viewing of this film. The cinematographer knows his art, though, and is responsible for the gasps that you will hear across the theatre.
The length of the movie is mercifully short, thanks to some crisp editing. The music is average.
Pizza 3D is the story of a man who does not believe in ghosts, and is therefore shocked when he realises they do exist. It is about beliefs and superstitions, and your voyeuristic nature may just be entertained by all the trials and tribulations that this man faces because of his non-belief. Be warned, though, that it is not all fun and games, and the horribly (almost fake) made-up ghosts may end up haunting you for a while. Watch with caution.